In this unit students will examine practices in the church tradition and how those practices inform faith communities today in the formation of mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Students will focus on issues such as these, at postgraduate level:

• The ways in which various church traditions have used spiritual community to form disciples into Christlikeness

• Principles of covenant, confession, conversation, and contemplation in maturing disciples

• Apply these learnings, traditions, and principles to one’s own life and discipleship

• Apply these learnings, traditions, and principles to a particular contextual setting

After completing the unit, learners will recognize the biblical and theological foundations of Christian discipleship, and they will identify ways to discern and structure spiritual formation (discipleship) groups in their context.

Unit code: DA9103S

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Mission and Ministry

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Evaluate ways in which various church traditions have used spiritual community to form disciples into Christlikeness.


Examine the roles, accountabilities, dynamics and relationships that exist between leaders and followers in discipleship processes in a faith community.


Analyse the principles of covenant, confession, conversation, and contemplation in maturing disciples.


Synthesise learning in this award by examining an opportunity or opportunities for an intervention intended to bring transformative discipleship in their own leadership/ministry context.


Integrate pastoral practice appropriate for the student’s context with biblical, theological and spiritual insights gained from readings, various church “discipleship traditions”, other course participants, and course teaching into personal and corporate discipleship.

Unit sequence

Completed by students doing the STC-UD-ACU Doctor of Ministry (and, consequently, the UD Grad Dip Divinity, Reg. 81)


Teaching strategies include lectures; research; class discussion and debates; presentation of instructional material in the form of printed documentation, podcasts, videos, and audio; online course and multimedia materials.

Indicative Bibliography

Banks, Robert. Paul’s Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural Setting, Third Edition. Grand Rapids: Backer Academic, 2020.

Barton, Ruth Hailey. Perusing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

Fitch, David E. Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines that Shape the Church for Mission. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2016.

Johnson, Luke Timothy. Scripture and Discernment: Decision Making in the Church. Nashville: Abingdon, 1983.

McKnight, Scott. Pastor Paul: Nurturing a Culture of Christoformity in the Church. Ada, Michigan: Brazos Press, 2019.

Reed, Angela H., Osmer, Richard R., Smucker, Marcus G. Spiritual Companioning: A Guide to Protestant Theology and Practice. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2015.

Root, Andrew. Faith Formation in a Secular Age. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017.

Smith, James K.A. How (Not) to be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2014.

Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, 2018.

Thompson, James. The Church according to Paul: Rediscovering The Community Conformed To Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Minor Essay - Appreciative Inquiry 1400 20.0
Reflection - Spiritual Formation Discipleship Groups 2100 30.0
Essay - Curriculum for Discipleship Groups and Reporting on Spiritual Formation Discipleship Groups 3500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 26 Oct, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-10-26 14:26:16 +1100